Two-Hit Wonders: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly
Eve 6 in 2016
Courtesy of Warehouse Live
When people think of one-hit wonders of a certain era, the band Eve 6 certainly gains plenty of traction in the late-'90s/early-2000s conversation. After all, the band’s breakout single – the 1998 smash “Inside Out” – still gets radio play to this day. But calling Eve 6 a one-hit wonder isn’t entirely accurate. While “Inside Out” was certainly the band’s biggest hit, they followed it up three years later with “Here’s to the Night.” Much slower in tempo, and a pretty decent track as far as turn-of-the-century pop-rock ballads go, “Here’s to the Night” didn’t generate a response equal to that of “Inside Out,” but it wasn’t far off: “Inside Out” peaked at No. 28 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart; “Here’s to the Night” at No. 30.
The pop landscape is littered with one-hit wonders, but it takes a certain something extra to become a two-hit wonder. You weren’t exactly a flash in the pan, but then again, you weren’t exactly able to carve out much of a commercial radio career either. With Eve 6 playing Warehouse Live's Studio room on August 18 as part of its nationwide summer tour, here’s a look at the good, the bad and the ugly with regard to pop's two-hit wonders.
"Black Horse and the Cherry Tree"; "Suddenly I See"
Scoff if you will, but the Scottish singer-songwriter was a revelation upon her bursting into the mainstream in the mid-2000s. Here was Tunstall, who had paid her dues in her twenties by playing in half-empty bars in a number of bands, achieving what many singer-songwriters set out to do — success on the strength of their talent. Plus, “Suddenly I See” was featured in the flick The Devil Wears Prada, and that movie was awesome.
"Wild Thing"; "Funky Cold Medina"
Was Tone Loc a particularly insightful rapper? No. Did his raps aspire to anything beyond club-banging and good-timing? Not especially. That said, it always felt like he was in on the joke, as evidenced by his two big singles, both of which signify a man who knew the ticket to stardom in the late '80s and early '90s was radio singles with major sexual undertones.
"The Way"; "Out of My Head"
Man, Austin’s own Fastball really had a chance at something. Formed in the mid-'90s, the trio gained a little buzz in the leadup to the release of its 1998 breakthrough, All the Pain Money Can Buy. That album featured the smash single “The Way,” followed by “Out of My Head,” also a hit on mainstream radio. Unfortunately, what once appeared promising quickly petered out; Fastball hasn’t charted a single in more than 15 years as subsequent albums came and went with little fanfare.
MARKY MARK AND THE FUNKY BUNCH
"Good Vibrations"; "Wild Side"
Mark Wahlberg is a successful businessman and prominent Hollywood producer. Not to mention, dude doesn’t quite get his due when it comes to what a quality actor he is — both comedic and dramatic. So yeah, there are plenty of niceties to say about Mark Wahlberg, just not with regard to his musical output. Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, despite a couple of hit singles and one platinum record, is an early-'90s relic best left there.
UGLY KID JOE
"Everything About You"; "Cat's In the Cradle"
Is there a more early-'90s band than Ugly Kid Joe? The hair, the fashion, the sound. Ugly Kid Joe had a nice little run in 1992-93, releasing a double-platinum debut, America’s Least Wanted (even the title was early '90s), that yielded a pair of popular, yet ultimately forgettable, singles.
"Little Miss Can't Be Wrong"; "Two Princes"
This one hurts, as both of these singles are pretty damn catchy in their own cheesy ways. That said, when your lyrics entail such poetry as “You cook so well, all nice and French/You do your brain surgery too mama with your monkey wrench,” you’re pretty much inviting public scorn.
"Thong Song"; "Incomplete"
Just because something takes America by storm doesn’t mean it’s any good (see Pokémon Go, pogs, slap bracelets and other fads). That was the case for Sisqo’s “Thong Song,” which was THE song of 2000. This isn’t a misogyny thing either, as pop music has seen far worse in that regard. Rather, it’s a terrible song thing, and “Thong Song” most certainly is. “Incomplete” isn’t near as terrible, but then again, the bar wasn’t particularly high in the first place.
"Play That Funky Music"; Ice Ice Baby"
Eve 6 isn’t the only two-hit wonder unfairly cast as a one-hitter. Vanilla Ice is among the first names that come to mind when it comes to the most famous one-hit wonders. That’s true to an extent, as “Ice Ice Baby” was by far his most successful single; but it wasn’t his first. Rather, “Play That Funky Music” — released two months before “Ice Ice Baby” — actually got Ice’s career going. It peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100.
"Fancy"; "Black Widow"
Iggy Azalea learned a very valuable lesson as her career unraveled: If you’re going to appropriate hip-hop culture, you’d damn well better pull an Eminem and do it well. Alas, her breakout single, “Fancy,” while admittedly catchy, was a novelty track at best, and “Black Widow” didn’t cut it either, marking one of the quicker rises and falls in recent pop history.